And the enforcement ducks arenâ€™t in line by a long shot.
AÂ small fraction (1200) of the recommended number (6000) of National Guard troopsÂ promised for August 1 are going to arrive somewhat later than that. Plus a few hundred million dollars for border security is small change in a town where nothing important goes for less than billions. Washington isÂ sending Mexico $1.4 billion for its interior law enforcement, in one example of government priorities.
About those National Guard troops, 470 have received their orders and will be trained for border duty, and the remainder will arrive in 60 to 90 days (Guard troops receive orders, training for border duty, August 12, 2010, Army.mil). Thereâ€™s no rush to defend Americaâ€™sÂ dangerously open perimeter, thatâ€™s for sure.
Napolitano: Now with â€?enoughâ€™ border resources, time to reform,Â Washington Times, August 13, 2010Below, the White House signing ceremony of the Southwest Border Security Bill was decidedly low key.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday said the administration has â€?enoughâ€? resources to secure the border now that President Obama signed into law a $600 million border security spending bill, and she said Congress must now act on the rest of immigration.
â€?This is what we asked for. And of course, what we asked for was what we thought would be enough,â€? Ms. Napolitano told reporters at the White House, hours after she joined Mr. Obama as he signed the bipartisan bill.
The law provides for 1,000 new U.S. Border Patrol agents, hundreds of border inspectors and interior enforcement personnel and two new aerial drones to patrol the remote Southwest.
Although it will take about eight months for the new agents to be hired and trained, Ms. Napolitano said the border is already secure enough that it should not be used by critics to â€?preclude discussions about immigration reform.â€?
â€?Sometimes I hear â€™securing the borderâ€™ and the goalpost just keeps moving â€” well, weâ€™ve done this,â€? Ms. Napolitano said, echoing statements by Mr. Obama thatÂ itâ€™s now time for a comprehensive bill that would provide illegal immigrants a pathway to legalization.
But border state lawmakers, while welcoming the additional resources, said itâ€™s not enough. On Thursday, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona Democrat, said Washington â€?still doesnâ€™t truly understand the threats we faceâ€? in border states.
â€?I will keep saying it until they hear me â€“ while this is a valuable first step towards protecting folks in the Southwest, it will take much more to make up for years of failed policies along the border,â€? she said.
Mr. Obama earlier this year endorsed a general framework for a bill and made a speech calling for action, but he is leaving the details to Capitol Hill. He and other Democrats have said the ball is in Republicansâ€™ court, noting that several GOP lawmakers who were key to immigration reform in the past are now no longer supportive of a similar measure.